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Superb Fall Colors And Hot Springs! 6 Destinations In Northern Japan


Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe

Written by ayu


In the Tohoku Region (northern Japan), autumn leaves and hot springs can be enjoyed together at a few select destinations. We introduce here the best places to enjoy the beautiful fall colors and the relaxing hot springs of Tohoku!

Enjoy Autumn Leaves While Relaxing in a Hot Spring

Japan is a nature-rich country with two thirds of its land covered in forests. In the fall, visitors can admire the beautiful autumn leaves all throughout the island. Also during this season, the weather starts to get cooler and people begin heading to the famous hot springs.

Today we'll be introducing some great spots in the especially nature-rich Tohoku Region where you can enjoy autumn leaves while relaxing in a hot spring.

1. Aomori Prefecture: Sukayu Onsen

Photo courtesy of: Sukayu Onsen

Sukayu Onsen is known for its yield and positive effects on the body, and was the first hot spring area to be designated a People's Recreation Spa in 1954. The Hiba Sennin Buro is a large mixed gender public bath, which is a rarity nowadays. You'll be able to enjoy a unique atmosphere only found here.

The bathing area is limited to women during specific times of the day, and they also offer smaller baths that are usually gender segregated.

Photo courtesy of: Sukayu Onsen Ryokan

The area is surrounded by the Hakkoda Mountains, so visitors can also spend time hiking or even skiing in the winter.

Sukayu Information Center

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2. Akita Prefecture: Nyuto Onsenkyo

Photo courtesy of: ©Akita Prefecture/©JNTO

Photo courtesy of: ©Akita Prefecture/©JNTO

Mt. Nyuto stands within Hachimantai National Park in Towada, Akita. Located at the foot of the mountain are seven onsen facilities, collectively called Nyuto Onsenkyo. Each facility has its own unique hot spring, so you can onsen-hop to experience the differences between them. You will also feel refreshed when you see the natural beauty of the area, as the hot spring town is surrounded by virgin beech forests.

Nyuto Hot Spring

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3. Iwate Prefecture: Oshuku Onsen

Photo courtesy of: ©Iwate Prefecture/©JNTO

Oshuku Onsen is located about 50 minutes by bus from Morioka, Iwate. This hot spring town has a history dating back 450 years, and to this day many shops, ryokan, hotels, and other accommodation facilities line the running stream. Its location in the mountains boasts beautiful natural surroundings, where you can take a stroll along the river while admiring the autumn leaves.

Oushuku Onsen

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4. Yamagata Prefecture: Atsumi Onsen

Photo courtesy of: ©Yamagata Prefecture/©JNTO

Atsumi Onsen is surrounded by both mountains and the sea. Here you can find about 10 onsen facilities, as well as a public bath (200 yen), and a footbath. Visitors can enjoy cruises and fishing by the sea, or go for a hike to see a waterfall in the mountains. Other than the fall, summer is also a great time to visit.


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5. Miyagi Prefecture: Naruko Onsen

Photo courtesy of: Naruko Spa Tourist Association

Photo courtesy of: Naruko Spa Tourist Association

Otani River is flowing through the colorful mountains, and you can see Otani Bridge in the area. The Naruko Gorge located in Osaki, Miyagi, is a breathtaking viewpoint for admiring autumn leaves as far as the eye can see.

There are nearly 60 onsen facilities in the area. Each has its own special effects, accommodation options, and prices, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs. Other than relaxing in the hot springs, the area offers tourist attractions like the Japan Kokeshi Museum and geysers. You can also enjoy hiking and skiing during their respective seasons.

For more on Naruko, read: A Thai Student's First Onsen Experience at Naruko Onsen.


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6. Fukushima Prefecture: Tsuchiyu Onsen

Photo courtesy of: Tsuchiyu Onsen Association

Photo courtesy of: Tsuchiyu Onsen Association

Located in the western area of Fukushima prefecture is Tsuchiyu Onsen. Here, you will find approximately 20 onsen ryokan facilities, as well as tourist attractions like a footbath and shrine. Venture a little farther to visit family-friendly spots such as a safari park or strawberry farm.

After enjoying the magnificent autumn leaves and relaxing in an onsen, we recommend tasting the specialty pheasant cuisine and konjac.


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Autumn Leaves and Hot Springs in Nature-Rich Tohoku

The Tohoku Region boasts countless spots where you can refresh your body in a hot spring while taking in the magnificent views of autumn leaves. We hope you enjoy experiencing the beauty of fall in Japan!

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.